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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/4/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Equine guru Monty Roberts, whose 6-year-old horse Sabiango is one of the leading candidates for the upcoming Arlington Million Aug. 14, confirmed Monday that jockey Tyler Baze would be his choice to return in the saddle aboard Sabiango on Arlington Million Day.
Sabiango is trained by Bob Baffert, also the conditioner of Arlington Handicap winner Senor Swinger, owned by Bob & Beverly Lewis and another projected Million starter.
Baze, born Oct. 19, 1982, is the youngest riding member of the famed Baze racing family. Jockey Gary Baze is an uncle and Hall of Fame rider Russell Baze is a second cousin. Tyler, whose father Earl and mother Cammie were also jockeys, won the 2000 Eclipse Award as the nation's top apprentice.
"I would think Tyler Baze would be back on board," said Roberts, nicknamed "The Man Who Listens To Horses" after publishing a book of the same name in 1997. "The kid rode him like Einstein the last time."
Roberts was referring to Baze's winning ride aboard Sabiango in the Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park June 12, when Sabiango uncharacteristically made all the pace to tally by three-quarters of a length.
"The horse has always been known as one of those who wants something in front of him," said Roberts. "You can imagine my surprise when the Whittingham got underway and the kid had him in front. One of my students was sitting next to me, and I asked him rhetorically 'What's he doing?'
"'Twenty-five!' my student yelled," said Roberts as he continued his story. "At first I didn't know what he was talking about, then I looked up at the timer and realized he was talking about the fractions for the first quarter of the race. Then he yelled ':50!' as they put up the time for the half (actually :50 3/5). I couldn't believe it. There was no pace in the race at all.
"'My God, the kid is a genius!' I told my student. Baze had realized what was happening and taken advantage of it by assuming the lead. He knew what was happening. Apparently, Sabiango can run in front. Baze might be the best rider I've seen since Shoemaker, and he knows this horse. Sabiango needs to begin his final run at the three-eighths pole. Moving at the quarter-pole is too late. He doesn't have that kind of windup.
"Right now the plan is to take Sabiango up to Hollywood Park and work him on the dirt there Aug. 12 and then ship to Chicago," Roberts said. "The horse feels at home at Hollywood. He has a two sided box stall there with mesh wire for additional air circulation."
Two additional names were added to Arlington Million XXII's probable starter list on Tuesday. They are 6 C Stable LLC's Vangelis, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel; and Belmont Stable & Old Friends Inc.'s Hatif, trained by Paulo Lobo.
Vangelis finished sixth, beaten three and a quarter lengths in Del Mar's Grade I Eddie Read Handicap July 25, while the Brazilian-bred Hatif won an optional claiming race at Del Mar July 26.
Four fillies and one mare were added to the list of probable starters for the Grade I Beverly D. on Tuesday.
Now added to the Arlington Million's sister race, also run on Aug. 14., are Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Light Jig, a British-bred conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel; Diamond A Racing Corporation's Noches De Rosa, a Chilean-bred conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella; Mr. Michael Tabor & Mrs. John Magnier's Necklace, a British-bred trained by British legend Aidan O'Brien; Old Friends Inc.'s Quero Quero, a Kentucky-bred trained by Paulo Lobo; and J. P. Reddam's Tangle, an Irish-bred trained by Craig Dollase.
Light Jig was most recently sixth in the Grade I John C. Mabee Handicap at Del Mar on July 24 but won Hollywood's Grade II Beverly Hills Handicap June 27.
Noches De Rosa was third in the Beverly Hills but won Hollywood's Grade I Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap May 31.
Necklace was fourth in the Group I English Oaks at last asking at Epsom June 4; Quero Quero was second in the Grade I Milady Breeders' Cup Handicap July 11; and Tangle was fifth in the Milady.
Darley Stable's Street Theatre, Syndicate 2002's Mister Monet, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's Ershaad have now been withdrawn from consideration for the Grade I Secretariat Stakes to be run on Aug. 14 at Arlington Park.
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